It’s All About Tricks…

its all about tricks

By Mr Wip

Because quick simple renders are often just enough…

While trying to evolve in the cruel world of virtual rendering, you may have seen many tutorials, all presenting super advanced master techniques, but you can’t stop feeling that their starting point is always a bit above your current skills, and their goal far away from your current needs. So, here is a small and quick way to get an efficient result with a minimal effort. The goal is to create a clean white model with some color overlay to express a projects potential.

its all about tricks

The main part of the tutorial is based on the model ‘casino y torre’ from the 3D warehouse (made by Indigo Group), which presents interesting spaces that match well with the needs of the explanation.

We will be using SketchUp, V-Ray, and Photoshop.


Good View Point

The basic idea is to combine different method to get quickly a good result without having to spend too much time on each step, by adjusting everything precisely.

Step 1. So, after choosing a good point of view that presents the project well, it’s necessary to create first two main pictures, by using the V-Ray presets:

1 – White –  Sun : All textures are overwritten, the light comes essentially from the sun, creating nice shadowing.



2 – White – Sky : All textures are overwritten, the light comes only from a sky dome, creating a smooth
uniform render with a good level of detail.




Step 2. The combination of both styles is necessary to get a convincing result because if the sun gives a good overall effect and nice shadows, it does kill the small details in full lit area which are preserved in the sky-only render. By using Photoshop it’s then easy to Blend them by adjusting the Transparency level of the overlaying picture (the order doesn’t matter…) as shown below.


Step 2


Step 3. To emphasis the ‘clay model’ effect, it is necessary to add a simple black and white Adjustment Layer (or desaturate ) because the sun render always presents a small coloration. A Levels Layer is also useful to complete the picture adjustment allowing a quick reinforcement of the overall contrast.


Step 3

It’s really important to see what can be done by the renderer and what can be done in the image editor, in order to keep the process as quick and as flexible as possible…

Step 4. When these first steps are done, go back to SketchUp, and export a simple white image, which only shows SketchUp lines  (to get a satisfying precision image it is often necessary to create a bigger output than the V-Ray render and then reduce the size in the image editor).


Step 4


Step 5. In Photoshop, paste the SketchUp lines as a new layer at the top of the existing stack. Then change the Blending Mode from Normal to Multiply. This creates the desired effect.


Step 5

It is interesting to understand that this method is also really efficient to create clear plans or facades from any 3D model. The combination of sun and sky emphasis’s the nature of every space.

Using the same method the image below shows raw SketchUp to  full render


SketchUp to Full Render


When you have built your complete Photoshop file, you can easily enhance your presentation.  As shown in the image below for example. Let’s show the facades and ground elements that will be affected by the project.  Using the SketchUp lines layer, it’s possible to select precisely certain areas and then apply a color filling on another layer.


Add Color

This method allows a quick color filling and in this case can also be used to add effect on a particular part of a render. It’s a really efficient way to get nice water or glass effects without having to lose time adjusting complex shader parameters, and it reduces a lot the rendering time.

Before applying the local effect and after the effect has been applied:


Before Ripple Effect and After

And finally your finished image…


Final Image

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and picked up some hints….

Mr Wip

19 Responses to “It’s All About Tricks…”

  1. majid on July 27th, 2009 10:10 pm

    very tricky, nice! 🙂

  2. Pg on July 29th, 2009 4:59 pm

    I couldn’t find out how you use “the ‘Skp lines’ layer,”
    even though i googled it.
    Could you detail this for us?

    Thank you!

    Nice tutorial!

  3. Pg on July 31st, 2009 4:32 pm

    …and with “use” i actually mean find… 🙂

  4. MrWip on July 31st, 2009 5:30 pm

    The ‘Skp lines’ layer is a common layer, which I just nammed like that for the needs of the demonstration…(and I don’t think googling it will help you..)
    I use it to overlay the sketchup lines on the Vray renders (which of course doesn’t present lines). It’s just a simple export from sketchup, and an adjustment of the blending mode…

    … In fact when I say ‘using the skp lines layer’ it just means that you use the magic wand on it to make quick and clean selections of precise area, define by the skp edges on your image.

    In this article the difference (with or without the lines) is not that easy to get, because the pictures are quite small, but it works for real..!

  5. Pg on August 2nd, 2009 5:08 pm

    Thank you that helps a lot!
    I’m a PS noob hence the misunderstanding.

  6. ezam on August 13th, 2010 10:06 pm

    how do i configure “skydome” settings(for the “white-sky” image)
    it’s just unboxing the option “GI Skylight” or selecting another type of GI?

  7. PedroP on October 12th, 2010 8:48 pm

    How can i get that nice water or glass effects? i suppose its by selecting a certain area in the ‘Skp lines’ layer” with the magic wand tool and then give an effect? How?
    Thx! Very nice tutorial !!

  8. amy on January 14th, 2011 1:39 am

    A realy nice trick!
    Is it possible to doxnload the .skp?

    Thank you.

  9. Sketchup links « Unit D 2011/12 on October 23rd, 2011 8:28 pm
  10. reza on July 10th, 2012 1:03 am

    great job bro 😉

  11. sumi romero on October 18th, 2013 3:33 am

    I can´t change the V-ray options…

    “Download the archive ” VrayOptions ” and replace the “Option” of Vray file ( ASGVIS / C / Program files / …) by one who is in the archive. ( Make possibly a copy of the original in a corner … )”

    how can i do that?

  12. Mike on December 12th, 2015 5:24 pm

    I am stuck at step 4.
    In SketchUp, how do you export a ‘simple white image with only sketchup lines’?

  13. admin on December 21st, 2015 3:21 pm

    @Mike To export a straight line work image. Turn off the sky and shadows and select hidden line mode in the style menu. The displayed edges have no profiles, extensions or other variations – just the basic line work.

  14. David on January 3rd, 2016 12:09 pm

    Thank you for a very useful tutorial. I’m trying to follow the technique and the following step regarding the SU linework layer has me puzzled:

    “(to get a satisfying precision image it is often necessary to create a bigger output than the V-Ray render and then reduce the size in the image editor).”

    I’ve tried exporting a double size image then halving it in “Photoshop” (Gimp). However, this scaling results in a loss of quality and as far as I can see any scale operation in the image editor, including shrinking, results in a loss of image quality to some extent.

    Could you explain this stage a little more?

    Thank you

  15. Andrey on November 18th, 2016 1:13 pm


    Do I have your permission to use this 3D project just to improve my Photoshop skills. I want to do a post-production image based on your project. I will send you the final image when it’s ready.
    Just le me know if it’s ok to use it.

    Thank you! 🙂

  16. admin on November 18th, 2016 5:08 pm

    Please do…. and we look forward to seeing it!

  17. Joel on May 29th, 2017 6:01 am


    Thanks for this tutorial. Just having a bit of an issue. Have followed the steps and downloaded the visopt files however I cant seem to get the white sun option working. It doesn’t show shadows as in the image. Looks quite similar to the white sky setting. Any one else have this issue?

  18. tino on September 26th, 2017 10:01 am

    great tutorial, thanks a lot guys. i have just one question. when i do the white sun renders i get a little blueish color. i try to change it but no luck. do you know why this happens. tnx

  19. Cris on October 8th, 2017 8:09 pm

    Thank you very much… I LOVED this tutorial

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